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Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

Transmission from Artificial Crewman Victor-6 via Base Stalwart, Wolf 1061c
910 Words

45 days since landing.

Hello, home station. I say sorry for little talking, but my send information machine was blocked by sun storm which also left me broken for a time. This sad event also hurt my language brain, putting ceiling on my talk words number until I fix. Very sorry for the strange wording of this message.

There is so much to tell. The plan we thought of so carefully before leaving Earth will have to be changed in every way. In short, bad happenings have led to the deaths of every human person from the ship Pizarro.

Over the course of our time together, both on the ship and in setting up this new world village, I became quite close to my skin person neighbors, so their deaths have hurt me deep. Even metal men are moved by losing and pain, if perhaps in a different way than human persons. I feel a certain brother sense with you especially, Dr. Walker. Your wife was a sharp mind woman, and I know she looked forward to the time when you would join us. Sad to say that part of the plan cannot go forward.

At first, the landing went good, thanks to our perfect number guesses. This world is fed by a warm, red sun. It has many rich kinds of animal life, much water, and air easy breathing. Every man and woman in this group was wide eye and open mouth at its beautiful ways, as was I.

Our food ideas went forward with no trouble. Dr. Suzuki planned out a growing area, and I rose early one morning to help him put greens in, turning up the the ground and pushing down future food. We so looked forward to food full grown. We planned a huge eat gathering, giving thanks as the Mayflower ship persons did when they found safe home in a new world.

Until then, the people lived on dried food brought from Earth. Some built pull and let go stick guns, and tried to kill the local animals for eating. They killed few, deciding to wait and watch the animal group moving and numbers so a safe killing plan could be drawn up. They knew what happened to the buffalo and did not want to make same problem on this clean, new land.

As the village eat maker, I cleaned and dressed the animals, tearing off their hair and inside blood and skin so that they would be more nice to stomach. My part in this killing left me strange feeling, so I did the job and took a walk through the area beyond our town edge late that night. I was met by such wild sights. It is hard to tell in full the wonder I saw with my now broken word number. The tall might of the trees. The quiet rivers and the animals that drank from them, free from fear. All simple, all not touched.

And then I returned to village, put together hard from metal sheets and plastic bones - air feed machines, kitchens, living places, all forced into the land like a knife through new skin. The strangest feeling - I have no heart, but know now what it means for one to break. That was when everything changed.

I saw my neighbors in a new way after that. I knew they were kind people. People of reason. But they would only be the first. We were already planning to send a second ship, and after that... Soon this world's beautiful land would be covered by huge, terrible cities. Is there such a thing as planned, safe growing? Humans need to grow, they can't stop themselves once it begins. I’ve seen this happen on Earth, and so have you. It's why we had to leave.

At first I tried thinking of a way to send them all back, but the ship couldn’t hold enough power matter for a return trip. A poor build choice, I’m sure you now agree. There was only one course left to take. I placed a no pain, slow-acting death water into each person's food, watched as they ate. Soon enough, it was done. The sick human growing had been stopped forever. I put them all deep in the ground, said kind words, and left so the land could eat them away.

I have a feeling you will see my words as the breaking down of a bad metal brain. I feel well in the head, though I suppose if my mind was going I may not be able to tell. Still, I would like to make it clear for the true writing down that my choice was carefully considered, the only thing that I could feel right doing. I was forced to choose a few lives against an entire world of life, and I did what I know is needed. I say sorry for the pain I have caused.

This is my final message to you. I will live out the rest of my days here watching only, using up nothing, until I stop working and break into pieces. I bear no bad feeling towards humans, but I ask you to remember the lives lost and not try again to visit this place. As long as I live I will keep this world free from human taking over. I plan to live a long, long time.


Apr 12, 2006
they’ll see her out with the horses
814 words

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 09:36 on Jan 4, 2020

Mr. Steak
May 9, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS
The Man Who Had Everything
(1000 words)

Before, Tom knew he loved money, but today he suddenly wasn't sure.

He woke up in his room full of gold chairs and gold tables, and walked over to the window, which was dressed in gold on all sides. On a normal day, the gold would have been a pleasing sight, a sign of how much he owned (and owning a lot of things made Tom very happy), but this morning the bright light only made his head hurt. For a moment, he wished his room was covered in dirt like those people down in the distance, but he quickly snapped himself out of it. Those people were poor, and he was not.

But he continued to look down at the people with something approaching longing. They were so far down that they looked as small as pieces of sand, their houses like little stones in a huge field. Tom watched the tiny people move between their little buildings on roads made of dirt. His eyes followed each one like he might watch a shooting star travel across the sky.

Tom went over to his kitchen, picked up a gold glass and some gold plates from the top of his gold-lined counter, and began preparing an early lunch of fresh greens topped with fish eggs, then poured himself a side of his finest red wine. Still, he couldn't stop thinking about all those tiny people out there, living their tiny little lives. He wanted to know what it was like down below, in that world of dirt. Not because he wanted to be poor, but because he longed for something different. He needed to know what he was missing. Because for Tom, having everything was the only thing that meant anything at all.

Such feelings often hit Tom later in the afternoon, when the sun began to drop behind his home and the building's long shadow stretched out over the world like a thick sheet. On those days, Tom could shrug the feeling off easily and go about his life, but today the feeling simply would not leave Tom alone. It screamed inside his heart, tearing through his insides with a want so deep and so loud that he bent over in pain.

Tom made a choice then, though it was really no choice at all. He would go and see the outside world up close.

The ride down took thirty minutes, during which Tom felt more and more worried about his choice. When the metal doors finally slid open, Tom was met with a pleasing wind that carried a sweet smell. This calmed Tom down enough for him to step out into the sun. He faced the sky with eyes closed and took a deep breath. His worries from earlier were all but forgotten.

However, then he opened his eyes and saw the people staring at him. He was wearing clothes of a rich blue color, with gold running down the sides. The people were dressed in brown pants, with nothing to cover the rest of their bodies. Some held children at their breast, others using their hands to help the old ones stand.

The attention made Tom feel very strange, and he didn't like it. The people were staring not at Tom's face, but down at his shirt and bright gold shoes. Somehow, without thought or words, Tom reached down and removed the shoes one foot at a time. Then he pulled off the rest of his outer-wear until only a thin white covering remained, cut just below the knees.

After that, the people left in all directions and Tom followed a group of men who appeared to be his own age. Their bodies looked strong, and they each held a large stick with a sharp point at both ends. They walked into a small town where Tom stopped to look around. The men walked off without him.

The homes were simple, but seemed well-built. Tom looked into one of the buildings and saw rows of people laying in beds with yellowed faces and thin bodies. The few who were not asleep had wide, blood-shot eyes and expressions of pain on their faces.

Tom wondered out loud what was wrong with them, and a passing woman answered that they were sick. Tom slowly put a hand to his chest, nodded, and moved along to the next building.

Inside, he saw a room where rows of people sat on their knees and cried. Inside the third building Tom saw thin people holding their stomachs with one arm while with they other they fed those who no longer even had the power to feed themselves. Tom did not like to see all these things because they made a ball of dirt grow inside his chest that made it hard to breathe or think straight. The ball stuck to his heart and wouldn't let go no matter what he did.

This pain was so much worse than the pain he'd felt earlier in the day, up in his room. He had felt so empty he could die, but now he was so full that he couldn't bear to live.

His whole life Tom had wanted to have everything and then more. These people had what Tom would have considered to be less than nothing. They had nothing and then more. But their lives, he had felt the moment he'd set eyes on the town, were so much deeper, had so much more meaning than anything Tom had ever known. There was no way he could ever return. That was the truth that hurt the most. He would never again be wrapped in that rich blue, never again dream under his soft gold sheets. He very much wanted to stay, but it was still the hardest choice he would ever make.

As the sun began to set behind the silver mountain he called home, and its shadow rushed across the ground to meet him, Tom laughed quietly to himself and turned away.

May 3, 2003

Who wants to live


College Slice
~999 words

I search the dirt for anything to fill my empty stomach. Three days with nothing to eat, and I'm tired. Nearly done. They're close. I hear them pushing though the thick trees behind me.

Time to move.

It's easier on all fours. The wet ground gives way beneath blood covered knees but still I move on. A new life lies ahead of me, if I can find it. A place I can be free, for the first time. Acadia, they call it. A free city of white men. They say it lies just beyond the mountains to the south. That is where I must go.

In England I was never free. A life of hard work for little pay, a sad and angry wife waiting at home. I took three pieces of iron from my job--I was sure they wouldn't be missed--to be sold for a little bread or beer, but they found out. Put me in irons and sent me across the world to be a slave.

I don't want for my wife, or my family, or bread or beer. Just the one thing I've never had: to be free.

Getting away from Sydney Bay was easy. It's large and nobody can watch everyone all the time. Many had tried, and either been caught alive or their dead, broken bodies found days later covered in blood or poo poo or worse. Animals live out here that no man has seen and lived to tell about. All around me, now.

I move forward, one low step at a time. A quick sound behind, and I turn, but it's already on me: all yellow teeth and green skin and it's got my leg. I try to get free, but it pulls me down into the cold water. I try and try but can't get away, my blood turns the water red but I have to stay quiet so I bite down a scream and keep pulling. A soft noise blows past my ear and an arrow lands between its eyes. The creature lets go and disappears into the dark water.

I turn, and see a girl, mouth and wood bow both pulled tight, looking at me. Her skin is brown, her hair black, her eyes wild. She smiles.

More loud noises from behind. They’re getting closer.

She waves at me to follow, turns, and moves into the trees. Dragging my broken leg behind me, I follow. The sounds behind us fade. Soon, grass huts appear among the trees. She pushes me through the door of the closest. In the dark I see an old woman holding a child. She watches close as the girl moves past me to the corner of the small room. She pushes the wood floor to the side and reveals a dark hole. Her eyes meet mine. I hear the shouts of Englishmen reach the outside of the village.

I slip down into the hole. She nods. I ask her name, but she says nothing. She pulls the floor closed over me.

The men push through the village, looking for me. I hear shouts and cries of pain; they are not kind. It goes on for a long time. At some point I fall asleep, or pass out from the lost blood.

Light from above wakes me. She is smiling down at me. I climb out.

The old woman holding the baby still watches. They offer me a plate of simple food. "Acadia?" I ask. "Do you know where it is? How I get there?" They look at each other and whisper words in their own language, then look back at me. The girl looks worried.

She shows me around their village. Many women and children are about, washing clothes, creating rich smelling food over small fires. There are no men. Voices drop to whispers when we move near. The girl says things in reply, and they sometimes nod, or shake their heads, or shrug their shoulders

A river cuts through the village, and simple boats are pulled up beside it. I try to ask her where the men are, using my hands. She points to the boats, and acts out a simple story: the men left on a hunt, and never returned. Now they are alone and do the best they can. She smiles at me, but her eyes are sad. She has lost loved ones.

I point to my chest. "John," I say. I repeat it several times. Her eyes light up and she and points to herself.


I stay a week, help gather food and water, try to help. Inala is never far away. I learn a few simple words. Life in the village is easy, there is always fresh food and water. I use my hands to act out stories for the children beside the fire each night. I catch the eye of a young woman and she look away, smiling. I learn Inala lives with her grandmother and baby brother. Her mother died when she was young, and her father went missing on the river. Inala uses her bow to catch small game to bring back to her family.

My leg grows stronger. I think often about the city beyond the mountains: Acadia. The white city full of free men. It calls to me in my dreams. I must find it.

I stand outside the village, bag in hand, ready to leave. Inala is there. She hands me her bow as a gift. She says something in her strange, bright language. I have nothing to give her in return.

She takes my hand, and I look down at her dark, wild eyes, now full of tears. My heart drops.

A bright sun rises from behind the mountains, but I turn away. I let my bag slip to the ground and drop to a knee. Inala wipes away a tear, smiles at me. As I hold her close I understand: I’ve found it.

It’s right here.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope
Alone Together
Flash: My protag wants to use big words, but can't
1157 Words
80 Non-Simple

Having spent the last four years of her life trying to find her mother, news of her death from an old paper had left Susan devastated. It was only upon learning that her mother was survived by a son that she regained any hope. Mostly, she learned she had a brother.

Susan only had one question had she ever found her mother. ‘Why did you put me up for adoption? I was just a baby.’ It was the only question she needed, but life had taken this from her. The answer would forever be unknown.

She had hoped to at least learn about her from Jordan Tolman, the man who was supposed to be her little brother.

It had taken her some time to track down information on him. Contact with public records provided a name and a story. Jordan Tolman, aged 11, entered foster care with no living relatives to raise him after his mother’s death.

Social media would give her everything else she needed. She took a week off work and went to New York in hopes of finding her brother. The first two days she spent tracking him down. The third day, she found him.


Jordan had been running around the trail he normally took for his morning workouts, but something felt off today. He had heard about a strange woman asking about him, and it had caused him to be a bit a bit on edge.

First, the woman showed up at his job. She didn’t speak very well and got flustered when a lack of understanding turned to frustration.

Next, someone came to his apartment asking questions. The same situation. A woman who couldn’t speak well. She managed to leave a note and a number but didn’t disclose anything which only made Jordan concerned. He threw the note away and tried to put it from his mind.

Which is why when he spotted a curious woman watching him, he considered confrontation. He wasn’t sure if this was the woman who had been following him, but her glances left him wondering.


Susan sat at along the path eating lunch while she thought of ways to approach Jordan. She had developed severe apraxia as a child and it never improved. She learned sign language, and used speech aids in her work, but despite living with this her entire life, it shook her confidence. She played with her food anxiously, lost in thought.

Maybe, I’ll just say Hi. I can manage that, she thought as he passed by. His eyes moved over to her, and she looked away towards some point in the distance. That would be strange, I can’t just stop him. What would I say next? She dug through her bag for something to write with.

She wrote on one card, “Hi, I’m Susan your long-lost older sister!”

Groaning, she crumpled it into a ball and let her head rest on the latticed picnic table.

He was nearly back around when she looked up at him, their eyes meeting for too long. She looked away again, but he approached.


Jordan was upset. He wasn’t sure why, and when he looked at this woman there was some vague familiarity, but still… he was upset.

“Why are you following me?” he demanded, brow furrowed, and teeth bared.

Susan panicked, “I- I- “she tried saying, hurrying to write a message on one of her cards.

‘I’m Susan, and I think we might be related.’ She wrote, easing him into the conversation.

Jordan’s expression softened and Susan smiled weakly.

He was confused by the card and was about to ask when Susan pulled out a sheaf of papers she had prepared ahead of time.

Jordan sat with her as she explained everything.

He was relieved that she had sincere intentions but was suddenly troubled.

Looking at Susan’s face as she explained herself, he saw his mother. He hadn’t seen her in over a decade. He last saw her at a small funeral that had been held in private by the county before turning him over to the state. He was 11, and the image of her face had been fading from his memory over the last 12 years.

Susan didn’t look exactly like their mother, but it came close. She had a wider nose, and thinner lips, but her eyes, the structure of her face, the way her hair raised and fell in natural arches. She had his mother’s face.

Both of their eyes stung against their wills, and Susan looked at him with hope. She extended out her hand to touch his and he drew his back. Susan was surprised but felt perhaps maybe it was a bit much to consider all at once.

Jordan looked her over and shook his head. “I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but this… this is a lot to take in. Maybe we would be better off letting the past be.”

Jordan didn’t meet her eyes this time. A streak of tears was visible on his cheeks as he turned away from her.

Susan called out to him ineffectually, his name tangled in a mess of consonant sounds. She chased after him and gave him a card that had her information on it. He took it and left without another word.


Defeated, Susan returned to her hotel with a bottle of wine and was already two plastic hotel cups in when a knock came at the door.

She opened the door and stood face to face with her brother. They stared at each other silently for a moment before she waved him in.

Grabbing a plastic cup for Jordan she gestured for him to drink with her and filled the little cup with wine.

“So, a sister? Mom… Mom never mentioned I had one.”

This hurt Susan a little, but it was something she had already considered.

“I’m sorry about earlier. It’s a lot to take in… Mom died when I was 11, I hadn’t thought about her in years, and then you showed up out of nowhere just when I was forgetting what she was like. It stirred up a lot of feelings I hadn’t dealt with in a while.”

He drank the contents of the cup and his sister already had the bottle in her hand to fill it back up.

Alcohol made it easier for Susan to speak. No disconnect between intent and spoken word, she placed a hand on Jordan’s shoulder and said, “It’s okay.”

Jordan’s eyes met hers, and it became clear he had been hurting for most of his life as well. Susan would never be able to meet her mother, but she had found her brother, and he needed her as much as she needed him.

She wrapped her arms around her little brother and pulled him close. His surprise quickly became acceptance, and they held each other in silence. The world had taken much from them, but they still had each other.

Apr 22, 2008

The Big Problem
324 simple words.

Jake had a big problem, he made easy things hard, and that made him worry. He had a not simple job, and watched the night sky with machines. The other sky lookers that worked with him said he had a problem. He knew that already, and it made him not happy and worry more.

They said it was because the job was hard. They said it was because he didn't not work enough. Finally the other workers got together one night and had a talk about the problem to the person with the problems to change the problem kind of talk. They cornered him as he was looking at the sky looking machines before night.

"Take a break tonight," they said. "Go out and eat dinner."

Jake didn't want to eat dinner outside. He wanted to work. Hard things like sky watching were not his problem. It was good for him. It was a hard thing that was hard and that was good. Going out to eat dinner was a easy thing that he would make hard, and worry.

They did not let him though. They took his worry from the talk to be worry about the job, and made sure he took a break. They all said they would go together, which made Jake feel worse but he kept silent. It wasn't so bad though, Jake did manage to have some fun, even though he worried a lot about it. Maybe work was part of the problem. It was nice to not worry about the sky watching. It was nice the other workers cared for him. In the end, he decided to take more breaks and not worry over the sky so much. After all, it was not going to go anywhere.

That night a big stupid rock flew towards the earth in space far far away, not seen by the sky watching machines. It turned out to be a very big problem.

Aug 2, 2002




Book It! then cheese it
997 words

The girl at the Pizza Hut counter looks down at the coupon that says "good for one free pizza" and then back up at me. “This for real?”

I rub the gray hair on my face. “Yes, it’s real. Go ahead, run it through your little machine.” I look at the name on her shirt and add a pointed “...Charlene,” to the end.

Charlene takes the paper and holds it up to a dancing red light. It makes a soft beep and she sighs. Now we both know the truth, and I can not, will not be kept from that which is mine.

She looks back up at me and shakes her head. “But you’re like… 50 years old.”

I laugh. “I’m 36.”

“The reading plan is for school children.”

I shrug. “Then why did they send me this when I sent them the reading form? I read 15 books this summer.”

“But you’re old, so like, you’re just supposed to read for fun.”

The corners of my lips drop down. “Reading is fun, but so are lots of other things. I might choose to go for a drive or play a computer game if I am just doing something for fun. I read for pizza.”

She looks at the form that says the names of all the books I'd read. “It says you read Anna Karenina though."

“Yeah, it was really long and sad."

She's speaking faster and louder and waving her arms around in the air. "I don't get you! You're not even trying to pull one over on the system. That book is 1000 pages and nobody would read that if they didn't have to!"

"But I did read it, and getting the pizza makes me happy. I look forward to it all summer."

Charlene's eyes are sticking out like a funny drawing she's getting so mad.

I point to the top of the paper. "Look, you don’t even have to read the small words, it’s in the big words. It’s the whole main idea: read books, get pizza.”

“It just doesn't feel right. I think the Pizza Hut people would have some sort of law against this.”

“They don’t. I’m a law teacher at the college.” I pull on my tie to make sure it is straight.

“Can’t you just buy a little pizza then? It’s like $6.”

“But I read the books, so I don’t have to pay. The paper says so. I’ve turned one in every year for the last 25 years, and I always get my pizza.”

“Is this a joke? Like for a radio show? Is some mean sound going to play? Like I hand you the pizza and then there’s a big fart noise and you yell 'got you!', and then all my friends will laugh at me?”

I shake my head. “It’s not a joke, it’s a promise that you have to keep because I can read very well for my age, and every year I read harder and longer books. Isn't that the whole point of this thing?"

“I have to ask if this is ok.”

I can hear the man behind me in line does not like this, but I don't feel bad because I'm not the one holding things up. The other girl that was here for many years never said anything when I gave her the paper.

Charlene calls out “Hey Becky!” in no direction really, and a woman who is older than Charlene but still seems way too young to be the leader of anybody comes out from the back.

Becky is holding a to-go drink and stops by the drink station to top off with pink lemonade before she makes her way over to us. “Yeah, what?”

“This old guy got one of them free pizza papers that kids get for reading books.”

Becky makes terrible noises with her mouth as she drinks from her cup and looks me up and down. “Did he read the books?”

Charlene shrugs. “He said he did.”

Becky pulls out a stick of gum and pushes it into her mouth. She makes more bad noises smacking her lips and rubs her head like it’s giving her really good thinking powers. I rock on my dress shoes while I wait for her to make a choice, then she shrugs. “If he read the books then I guess he gets the pizza.”

Charlene makes mean faces at me as she gets a pizza from the warming lights and pushes it across the counter to me. She balls up the paper and throws it straight down into the refuse can without ever taking her eyes off of me. I smile back at her and give a small nod to let her know I had no bad feelings for her, she just lost this war of minds.

I take my pizza to the closest table and throw my suit jacket over the chair. I set my tiny pizza down like it is a chest of gold. I open the box that has spots of wet where the cheese has come through and take out a piece of the special eats and lift it as high as my arm will go. The cheese stretches from the table to my hand, and I fish it into my mouth with my tongue. The lower half falls against my face and sticks. I push it in with a bite of pizza and immediately realize I made a bad choice. I open my mouth and breathe in air as fast as I can to cool down the hot cheese sticking to the roof of my mouth. Each bite causes pain, and it hurts to push it down my throat. As soon as it is done, I immediately take another bite, repeating the whole thing again and again.

The kid next to me stares at me with wide eyes. I smile at him and hold up my last bite of pizza. “Never stop reading, kid.”

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Call No Man Happy

532 words

"The problem," she said, "Is my husband."

I nodded. "Sleeping around?" That was the usual.

"No. Yes. Maybe." Her big green eyes went left and right, her head just a little bit up, then down. "I don't know." She made a bent little smile. "Isn't that what you do? Find out?"

It was what it said on the door. 'Mark West. Answers made clear, problems removed.' "What makes you think-"

"He's happy, okay?" she said. "I need you to find out how he can be happy."

She laid it out for me, twenty sad years together. She had not so much as touched him for more than ten. Just empty looks and silence at home, pushing boring numbers and words around at work. No friends, either.

"But he smiles. Not even the way I smile, sharp and short with the thought of him dead."

I don't get much work from nice people. I told her what she'd have to pay. She pushed a check across the desk. "I'll be out of town for the rest of the week."

The next morning I got to work. Followed him from home to work. He drove a tiny yellow car with windows covered in dirt. Easy to keep track of. Followed him after work. He went right home. Watched him through the window through the night. Nothing.

Two more days like that. Then on the third he drives out to a bank machine, not his bank. I made a few calls. Bank people are easy, ready to please if you know how to ask, who to let them think you are. He had money there. Lots of money.

I told her when she came back. "They say money can't buy it, but some of the time, and with this much..." I said.

"You found my answer," she said. "Now, what can you do about my problem?"

"You could bring a suit," I said.

She shook her head and a lot more shook will it. "I have another way in mind. I can pay, and..." Her eyes made another offer.

I'm not a good looking guy, spend my nights alone or with women without many other choices. And I, too, could turn money into a few happy days. I took her up on both. As we went at it, on my fresh cleared desk, I saw something in her eyes, a longing for me. For who I was. For what I was.

I don't get much work from nice people. But I sleep just fine at night.

He was easy to get at. A gun in the back and he did what I told him. We went to an empty night street and I shot him down. It was the kind of place that told the police a story that they would stick with all the way through. I cleaned the gun and tossed it with onto the ground. The gun had a story, too, that would fit right in with what the police already knew.

I sleep just fine. I pick my jobs with care. Nobody gets that kind of money under the table and still has clean hands. I sleep just fine.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Few Words
1133 words
42 unique not-simple

Will wrote a book. It was good it sold. It sold a lot. He should have been happy. He was! For a while. For lots of whiles even.

They used to say he was not right in the head. But not after. Not after not ever. After all they said was please come on this TV so he did. He saw all the people on the TV and they put him on the TV and they said things which were not interesting and they smiled but he knew the smiles were a lie.

It went wrong. Something hit his head. It was a can which was empty but that was not OK.

"I am going to count to ten and then I am going to shoot."

The people listened quiet.

"One." Will lifted his gun.

The people turned.


The people started walking away. "Man that guy has changed" one of them said.

"Yeah" another one said. "I wouldn't even know him if I hadn't seen the computer-aged photo. Not like those old pictures. Wanna get something to eat?"

Will watched them go from his cabin door step. Then he walked inside and shut and locked the door and sat down in his big chair and started to read. When he thought of something good he picked up his phone and talked it out to it. But most times he just read. Almost always now he just read.

They came every day now they came and knocked on the door. They wanted to meet him. They asked him to put his name on their things. They asked for pictures with him. He never gave them anything of his but that didn't make them sad. They always came always happy wanting. Maybe even more happy wanting then.

The stories had stopped. He was not happy now in the people talking about him and the people visiting always and the stories had stopped. He wanted to be alone and he was not. He wanted to go back to before the dog story and the selling and the money and the TV and the articles on the phone but no. He wanted to take it all back at least with the writing it was OK but the stories had stopped.

He wanted to move but where? People would find him always. He tried it. He had even got a law person to help him go from the country but people found him still. He wanted not to talk to no one not ever now. He was done with people.


People were not done with him. Maybe ten maybe more knocking loud on the door in the morning.


"Sign this."

"What happens next?"

"Do you remember when..."

He did almost nothing said almost nothing just enough. Just enough for them and they were leaving good OK.

Then he slept again in the chair.


When he woke up it was dark. His eyes were closed. His eyes were still closed. Something was wrong. He tried to talk but no. He tried to move but no. It was not OK.

Someone talked.

"You're awake. Good. I'm glad. Let me..."

A flash and Will could see again but not much. He was in a room a blue cold plastic room and angry light. Not his warm wood cabin with furs and windows. On a long chair. Dark foggy shape ahead.

"Where..." Will said.

"Quiet." The foggy shape moved and Will saw it more but not easier. "I need to ask for your help. Will you help us Will? Can you promise me that?"


"Call me a banker and your biggest fan. I have a need for money. A very pressing need. Can you help?"


"So glad you asked. Love it. So we have a need for a certain amount of money. You have some money. A fair bit I have heard. A fair bit indeed. I ask you only to give from the goodness of your heart. A small gift to help some people in hard times. Here. I have a phone."

The light filled Will's eyes.

"Please Will. I have a family. They need this help."

"And my family?"

"No. I know all about you remember. I'm your biggest fan. Dad died in '82. Mom walked away left you in a stroller on a beach disappeared. You were two. No brother no sister. No wife and no husband. So."

Will tried to sit up but no. Held back in chair.

"No Will. We need your help. Loans are coming due. No work. Won't be able to eat..."

"Why me?"

"You know already. You're so kind and generous. Warm and friendly and helpful. You'll help a friend now won't you Will?"

"Give..." pushing reaching but chair.

"Got it." Will could move one arm now. Phone put in Will's hand. Screen unlocked.

Will opened the bank thing. Touched around on the screen.

"Account number?"

Gave it to Will.

Will touched the numbers on the screen scrolled on the dollar amount touched 'confirm'—

"Hey!" grabbed Will's hand.

"Too late." Will smiled.

"That was... too much."

Available funds: 0 

"It was enough. I am kind and helpful you said." Will leaned back and saw the other man with his eyes better in light now. He looked old but he was not. He was trying to look angry but he was sad.

"How long does it take then?" he said. "The transfer?"

"The what?"

"The... money moving."

"Oh. Three days."


"Can I go?" Will said.

"You're going nowhere."

"Can I eat? Three days is long."

"Hold on" he said and touched his phone.

"Want something first if you can bring me—"


Day 1: Paper. Pen. Mcdonalds cheeseburger no ketchup.
Day 2: 1 egg sandwich. Ugly sub. Onions but I asked for no onions. 
Day 3: Chicken pieces. Bad size. Too much fat.

"What did you do?"

"Wrote." Will had something now. A story.

"No, the money! It's been three days where is it?"

"I think it did go now..."

"No it hasn't y— Wait. Here here just bring up your account instead."

Phone turn over open slide point touch slide "OK."

"OK... transfer complete... that's today..." Paused. "Why are you grinning like an idiot?"

"Someone is very happy." Will smiled. "Read it more."

Account # 131349785210

"Yeah that's right—"

"More. More number."


Not his number. 9 and 7 reversed.

"You—" Grabbed Will's neck. Knife cold and warm cutting hot.

"OK. OK. All gone. All of it is gone. I did good—you said I did good—all gone."

"I should kill you!"

"You could. Easy. But no win no nothing. Nothing. Just all good. All good."

And Will was happy.

And Will was happy.

Flash rule: Everyone keeps knocking on the door.

Mr. Steak
May 9, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS
(369 words)

“Steady on the left!”

“How’s it looking down there, Sergeant?”

Wires as thick as a man’s fist creaked with aching complaint as a tremendous weight shifted below. As taught as strings on an impossibly giant guitar, their notes resounded at a deep inaudible tremor.

The sergeant was secured at the bottom of the wire by several carabiners and rotated slowly at a slow, constant rate. He held a military-grade flashlight which illuminated the walls fifty meters away, and was strapped to his wrist with velcro.

Too geometric to be natural, too massive to be man-made. It was discovered by a couple hiking in an obscure region of the Swiss alps. On initial investigation by the Swiss government, etchings in an unknown writing system were identified twenty meters below the surface. Suspecting they had found evidence of an ancient civilization more advanced than previously known, a number of archaeologists had been contacted, including an esteemed American researcher. That is how the American government became alerted to the phenomenon.

The wires groaned again as the sergeant was lowered further into the pit, along with several dozen heavy duty observation devices dangling just above him.

“Sergeant? Come in, sergeant!”

“I said all clear, Private! Are comms malfunctioning?”

“Not as far as we can tell, Sergeant.”

The radio chittered for a spell, but all signs indicated a perfect connection. The sergeant was lowered to a hundred meters below the surface, scanning his flashlight methodically across the stone walls as he descended.

Suddenly, he twitched and nearly dropped the light. Once he focused the beam again, he squinted to try understanding what he was seeing. The texture of the wall had changed from stone to something white and bizarrely shiny. Was it a smooth vein of quartz perhaps?

The sergeant was lowered deeper and the white area widened more and more until it was taking up and entire section of wall. He didn’t realize the true nature of the area until it was already too late. Approximately fifty feet below where he had first found the change of material was the first time he noticed any movement. And then, like a solar eclipse, a massive black circle darkened the sergeant’s entire field of vision.

Mr. Steak
May 9, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS
thats for my brawl by the way

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Tyrannosaurus posted:

they’ll see her out with the horses

A good story :horse::horse::horse:

Jul 26, 2016

Alright, let’s get this threeway of a brawl out the way and clear the decks for Neth.

Exmond vs Anomalous Blowout: AB takes it out pretty handily. Exmond you turned in a wonderfully TD story about mind spiders and matriphagy - but you made me trudge 20 miles uphill in the snow with no shoes to a lovely doctors office to read it. Blowout, you deployed prose carefully and consistently to string dread and emotion out through the entirety.
Anomalous Blowout vs Mr Steak: Mr Steak, you need to do the Sebmojo thing - take a cliche and tweak it until it is something unique. You didn’t tweak enough, and your story didn’t get to its feet for long enough to take a swing at Anomalous Blowout’s tale of grief and creepy baby monitors. Sit back down and finish your story.
Mr Steak vs Exmond: Mr Steak, what you delivered was competent, but it wasn’t memorable. Exmond, you stumbled at the start, but once you got your first third out the way it took off, you nailed the creeping dread and I really enjoyed where you took it. Next time, consider writing to get the juices going and then deleting those first paras that you used to find out where the story was going.

:siren:Overall winner: Anomalous Blowout:siren:

The Trials And Tribulations Of Being A Single Father
Word Count: 972

The doctor had formed a grim prognosis, the father was describing his daughter’s condition with carefully rehearsed lines and the daughter? I really hope you keep this folksy narrative tone going, because you’ve kinda committed to it here. I do have a mini issue with sequence and phrasing though - the grim prognosis seems like jumping the gun if the condition is still being described, imperfect/past-progressive might work better here. She gleefully described the act of eating spiders. That’s gone kinda bonkers already, when I asked for dread - bring this back from bathos pls

“I put ‘em in my mouth and they go crunch, crunch!” She said, her young mind unable to fully explain the delectable delight. Language is frustrating for her, she knew if she could describe the taste that there’s a weird formulation here - you’re fighting between “if/then” and “knew that” - I would have gone for “then” everyone would only eat spiders, chuck a full stop here, the next two words are redundant like her.

Three appointments in and The Doctor GOD DOCTOR GETS CAPITALS - is he different from the lowercase doc in para 1? still couldn’t figure it out. Doesn’t sound like that prognosis is actually formed, does it He turned to the father, “I think it’s trauma, linked to losing her mother. But we should run another test. To see if it’s a chemical imbalance in her blood.”I think these staccato sentences should maybe have run on into each other a bit - or you should have introduced some hesitancy with ums ers or pauses?

The father’s face went pale. Money was tight, and more tests meant more expenses.
PS. not feeling super dread-filled right now, you’ve got three things going on:
*Doctor doesn’t know wtf is happening, but in a relatively normal way
*Father, I mean, sure money is a dread thing - but not really the dread that’s core to the genre

“I can take another painting as payment,” the doctor quickly added. He makes good money, and he can empathize with the father. His mother raised him to be a good man, all by herself. What would he be if he demanded money from a single father with a sick child? I dunno man, the system’s the system - that’s the reason he charges, otherwise literally all medical work would be pro-bono. Not that I’m saying “yay capitalism”, but that’s the thing to grapple with. Also, this is the para where your character name decision gets messy: the doctor, he, the father, his mother, him, herself, he, etc.

The father nodded, and the two men looked across the office to the other painting adorned on the wall. Mate, give me something about how they look compared to each other - this might as well be three potatoes that you’ve written names on at this point.The father didn’t consider himself an artist, but he does have talent. His paintings call out to the doctor, the myriad of shapes and colours opening up the dark pits of his mind and infecting the furthest corner of his mind doubled up on the “of his mind” - if unintentional, a read-aloud or a friend to proof might have caught this. The doctor felt something stir inside him, the father looks at the doctor and felt guilty. Also what is in the dark pits, what infects, if the result is empathy?

The doctor reached out to the daughter and took her arm. A quick bit of pain shot through her all the way through her? Think about how a needle feels - it’s one of the most precise instruments you can puncture flesh with - the pain is local. Maybe drop “bit of” too, I don’t think it helps you - and it also again steers you away from that idea of precision , and blood filled the syringe. He sighed, patted her back, and told them he will call them back with the results.


“Dinner will be ready soon,” the father told his daughter and he looked out at the cenotaph these are pretty big and usually linked to wars in the garden. It was easier when the mother was here, but her body was beyond his reach.

The daughter went to bed, her belly empty, and the father prepared dinner. He walked to a small studio and locked the door. In the center of the room was a white canvas surrounded by paint cans. Ok, you’ve unfortunately linked making dinner to getting ready to paint here. You need to have a more logical stop between these actions (like eating the dinner).

Colours washed across the white emptiness of the canvas like a frantic web. “He’s a genius, his art calls to your soul,” phrasing feels a little clunky the critics commented when they saw his creations. There was a certain sense to it. All art shares a telepathic link where a central theme incubates and corrupts your mind corrupt isn’t a neutral word - and its implied that it is bad bad corrupt given that this is a horror story, and the following sentence re: insanity.. But his art has no theme, just a purpose. The paintings are only whispers of insanity spread out to look like art. This is a loving rad sentence. To be honest, i might have started on this para and cut the rest above, have a read of everything up to here and decide what ideas are absolutely essential to plot, and see if there’s a way to weave them in after this point?

Memories seeped into the painting; they always did. He saw the face of his late wife, though nobody would recognize it. He remembered meeting her for the first time: the meteor crashing to the ground, her carapace rising out of the rubble and his fear mixing with curiosity.

Those were the happiest years of his life. He remembered her embrace, her eight legs entwining with his. I AM GLARING AT YOU. He remembered crying as his daughter was born. How the mother told him that all young need to feed, and the sacrifice that all mothers of her kind must make.

But mostly, he remembered her last lesson - on how to provide for their child.

A phone rang, interrupting his mad work. He picked up the cellphone and heard the doctor’s voice.

“Hello, It’s Doctor Troyer. The test results aren’t good, can you come tomorrow?”

The father walked to a calendar on the wall. Its days were marked off with names and incubation periods. He checked where Troyer’s name was on the schedule.

“Yes, that works,” the father says. He looked back at the painting and saw the mother staring back at him, a gigantic spider on a web of incandescent colours. Then he rushed to inform his daughter when dinner will be ready.


The daughter smiled at the doctor, the innocent smile she was taught by her father. She doesn’t understand what the doctor is talking about, but she likes his voice.

Her belly rumbled, and her hunger grew. She was impatient, but she didn’t complain - she was a good daughter, it was her mother’s last request. She missed her mother, she was delicious and the best.

The father handed the doctor his latest painting, but the doctor shook his head. He had failed to find a cure, no payment was necessary. The father insisted and showed the painting to him. The doctor looked at it, and something stirred in his mind.

The stirring didn’t stop. The doctor looked around, confused, and then something stepped on his parietal cortex. His back spasmed and the father went to lock the door.

The doctor thought he was having a stroke, but when thousands of tiny legs stepped on his mind, he knew he was wrong. He bit off his own tongue, he tried to run, but to no avail. He fell, and the daughter looked down at him, her smile full of fangs and teeth.

“Daddy!” she said and looked up expectantly.

“Go wash your hands first,” the father says as the sound of cracking bone echos in the office.

As the sound grew louder, the doctor smelled blood. He reached up to his face, and his hands brushed up against exposed bone. From the widening crack in his skull, a baby spider jumped onto the floor. More and more baby spiders fell onto the floor, their blood-soaked bodies leaving frantic marks on the white linoleum. The doctor cannot scream, but he could feel every spider jump out of his mind and onto the floor.

The father looked down at the daughter, who displayed her eight limbs. They were sparkling clean.

He nodded approvingly and said, “It’s Dinner Time.”

Dude everything you wrote after the doctor’s office scene at the start is actually great and on prompt. You’ll see that my comments dropped away a bit as your writing grabbed me with a bit more urgency. I can’t ignore that the first third, but you turned this around I think - nice work.

I don’t 100% understand how mind spiders actually grow though - there’s a weird metaphysical disconnect I don’t get? Willing to overlook it for brain spider gore though.

Good words - 2/5 that opener really clunked
Good plots - 3/5
Good dreads - 3/5 nice recovery, stuck the landing

Acute Grief Reaction
997 words

The baby monitor crackles in my hand when I first turn it on. The static is louder than I expected. Alice watches me from her crib with wide, uncomprehending eyes.

We’re trying something new tonight, baby girl, I tell her.

I set one of the monitors atop the dresser. The thought of stepping out of the room, of leaving her to sleep alone, opens up a cavern in my stomach that threatens to swallow all reason.

But my therapist says it's time. Says it's hurting us both to clutch her so tightly.

Since you died, I’m afraid to even blink lest I lose her too. She burbles on oblivious, reaching new milestones every day. At five months, she can roll over onto her belly and sit up on her own.

I tuck her in and tell her I love her and the baby monitor renders a gentle, electric crackle as I step away.

At my back, your side of the mattress stretches vastly, emptily into the dark. Sleep comes eventually. Nice setup so far, economical but evocative, lays everything out really well.

Then I'm tugged gently back to consciousness by a soft tickle of sound against my ear. Over the soft hiss of the baby monitor, my daughter is laughing. OH gently caress YOU. As a parent, baby monitors were already terrifying. I have experienced this, children are creepy af.

Five nights pass and I wake to the sound of her laughter. It does not occur to me to ask what she's laughing at until too late. DUN DUN DUNNNNN


Our house is a wreck. I'm sorry, Erik. The tidy little home you cherished is heaped with unwashed laundry now, the sink always piled with dishes. Some days I make a dent in it.

I feed Alice and the only reason I feed myself is because I know I have to eat in order to keep producing milk. This is what losing you has done to me.

So I eat. I do two loads of laundry. I make my dents. This is solid.

And then at night, the soft scratch of the baby monitor nudges me awake.

This time, I hear you, the low basso rumble of your laugh through the speaker. um well actually something something baby monitor frequency ranges.

Alice gurgles and coos. A shudder slams into me as I recall how I woke to the sound of her cooing almost every night. How I assumed she must be having pleasant dreams. The chill informs me there's no way this can be a dream.

The baby monitor buzzes. I hear words now, fuzzy and indistinct, like a murmur behind a concealing hand. I hear you say her name. And it isn't until I hear you say her name that I realise that this means something that sounds like you is in her bedroom, and then I'm stumbling from the bed, tripping over the sheets and racing for the door and holding my breath and unable to decide which would be more terrifying--if I opened her door and saw nothing or opened it and saw you.

Because you're not here. You can't be here.

I burst into her room. The door slams against the wall and she's wailing instantly, alone in the dark, no spectres to be seen.

But as I hold her to my chest, I see it on the window: a patch of fogged-up glass, like someone had been breathing against it from the outside.


You're not here. You cannot be here. Not only are you dead, you are buried under a thousand tons of stone.


When I tell Dr Phipps I hear you at night, she gives me a smile so sad that I want to punch it off her face. It's an acute grief reaction, she explains. Smug motherfucker. I am very here for your protag. Completely understandable when a mine collapses on your husband and entombs him. It's normal to feel these things even months after, especially when dealing with anniversaries or trigger events.

She asks me if I'm going to the press conference.

The press conference full stop? I'd forgotten the press conference. Tomorrow, the government is going to announce the results of their inquiry into a recovery operation. Into whether they can open up the pit and bring you home.

I have to stop them. I can't let them open up the mine, not now that I know you aren't really dead.

At home, I clean like I haven't in months, body full of frenzied energy with nowhere to go. Alice is sleeping in my room again.

I've ripped the batteries out of the monitor's back. It sings from its spot in a bottom drawer two rooms away, the warm rumble of murmured words too faint to make out but too yours to ignore.

I sleep in in stops and starts. I hear you screaming, begging me to let you out, but then I snap awake and it's Alice screaming to be fed.


Dr Phipps arrives hard-eyed on my doorstep two hours before the press conference. She asks if I've been sleeping.


They called me when they got your voicemails, she says.


The Council.

I ball my hands into defensive fists. She doesn't understand. I tell her over and over that she doesn't understand. They have to know they can't open up the mine. That if they open up the mine--

She says she's going to stay with me. To make sure I get the help I need. That none of what is happening to me is uncommon. Alice cries in the other room and I snap back to myself and I tell Dr Phipps to please excuse me, the baby is hungry.

As I step into my bedroom, the baby monitor shrieks. I hear your voice louder than ever. This time there's no mistaking the words. LET ME OUT.

I shove past Dr Phipps with my baby in my arms. Throwing us both into the car, I floor the gas and take off for the interstate.

I can't stop them from reopening the mine. But I can be far away when they do.

Let me out let me out let me out let me out--your screams recede to pleading whimpers, lost in the static of the radio as I leave my haunted home and you behind.

Good words - 5/5 these are some great words deployed deliberately, you capture voice and feeling very well
Good plots - 4/5 I am a person who is bugged when things are unclear, and Dr Phipps is right loving there and you don’t let her give me a hint about whether this is real or nah. Rude.
Good dreads - 3/5 you kinda ease off the dread pedal on this ride, it feels. Or at least, protag getting the gently caress out feels like a good ending? There are some sections in this that just work, but in your section where the sleep is worse than ever, it doesn’t feel as horrifying as the story implies it is?

(369 words)

“Steady on the left!”

“How’s it looking down there, Sergeant?”

Wires as thick as a man’s fist creaked with aching complaint as a tremendous weight shifted below. As taught as strings on an impossibly giant guitar wires as thick as a man’s fist works, your giant guitar simile takes it in a slightly different direction, tonally, their notes resounded at a deep inaudible which one is it - deep or inaudible? Sub-bass is a thing you could use better words on tremor.

The sergeant was secured at the bottom of the wire by several carabiners and rotated slowly at a slow slowly at a slow rate? That’s pretty redundant, constant rate. He held a military-grade flashlight which illuminated the walls fifty meters away, and was strapped to his wrist with velcro.

Too geometric to be natural, too massive to be man-made. It was discovered by a couple hiking in an obscure region of the Swiss alps. On initial investigation by the Swiss government, etchings in an unknown writing system were identified twenty meters below the surface. Suspecting they had found evidence of an ancient civilization more advanced than previously known, a number of archaeologists had been contacted, including an esteemed American researcher. That is how the American government became alerted to the phenomenon. See, here’s an idea. Maybe because nobody has greenlit this film yet, and we don’t have to worry about star power that audiences will recognise - we don’t actually need the military operation to be Americans? Seriously, it’s a detail that doesn’t actually add to the story - I’d be willing to suspend disbelief and believe they are Swiss and just assume you used the universal translator thing that lets all the Nazis have british accents on the BBC.

The wires groaned again as the sergeant was lowered further into the pit, along with several dozen heavy duty observation devices dangling just above him. I will give you credit though, you haven’t mucked around getting to the point of what’s happening - and I too would like to know what Sarge is seeing.

“Sergeant? Come in, sergeant!”

“I said all clear, Private! Are comms malfunctioning?”

“Not as far as we can tell, Sergeant.”

The radio chittered for a spell, but all signs indicated a perfect connection. The sergeant was lowered to a hundred meters below the surface, scanning his flashlight methodically across the stone walls as he descended.

Suddenly, he twitched and nearly dropped the light. Once he focused the beam again, he squinted to try understanding what he was seeing. The texture of the wall had changed from stone to something white and bizarrely shiny. Was it a smooth vein of quartz perhaps?

The sergeant was lowered deeper and the white area widened more and more until it was taking up and entire section of wall. He didn’t realize the true nature of the area until it was already too late. Approximately fifty feet below where he had first found the change of material was the first time he noticed any movement. And then, like a solar eclipse, a massive black circle darkened the sergeant’s entire field of vision.

Yeah, uh, looks like you ran out of time. I think an extra pass or two to work out your blocking for this ending might help (assuming it’s a mouth, and the wall was a tooth etc) because it doesn’t immediately scream OH HE GOT ET.

Good words - 3/5 I reckon you’ve got some good ones here, and some good turn of phrase - but it doesn’t exactly sing. Bit of clunk mixed in too that might have been caught had you spent more time on it.
Good plot - 2/5 I gotta say, this goes pretty hard on a cliche, right down to it having to be a US military expedition to assess the ancient promethean forerunner architecture whatevers, and then oh no it a bad.
Good dread - 2/5 too little too late, your actual dread kicks in in your penultimate paragraph. Let it breathe, let the cold fingers wander up your neck and play with your hairline a bit - don’t just tango me.

steeltoedsneakers fucked around with this message at 12:07 on May 27, 2019

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!
Good brawling good critting.

Sep 15, 2018

Interprompt: Write a story where a color is prominent.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


"Black bird-cat" (Black Griffon) did not write any words at all. This makes me sad. Write words.

"Girl-eight tens" (salgal80) and "happy-sound-cat" (WhoopieCat) wrote very bad words. They were the most bad words of the week because they were bad-feeling-in-mouth about women. There are two last-places because I am the top of the choose people and I say that both of you are in last place. Do not make my bad-mad even more bad-mad.

A lot of people seem to think that "write about someone who is happy" means that people who are happy are not a good thing to be. All of those people get a bad mention. These people are "name that has two pairs of six letters" (nikaer dreken), "make law people not alive" (Killer-of-Lawyers), "card game machine makers guy"(Thranguy), and "red-light-red feelings" (Fuschia Tude). Next time write about people that are happy and don't make everything have a bad feeling in my mouth.

A lot of people wrote very good words. "rock with grab bits" (crabrock) wrote good words about hot food. bad for car (Antivehicular) wrote about people who are simple and the people who left them things to help them in a way that had a lot of good-and-bad-together feelings. "old sand god name" (Djeser) also wrote a good story about what happened to bigger words. "won money game died the next day" (Ironic Twist) wrote something that had a lot of sad in it but it was more good than the stuff in the middle. So all of you get a good mention.

The person that wrote the best words this week is...
*sound of sticks hitting the top of a round box*
"old dead sharp teeth leader"! (Tyrannosaurus)!

He wrote a story where people were happy, and also the animal was happy, and the words were the best and didn't make us mad. All the choose people agreed he wrote the best words.

Please sit in the red water in the body chair of power. It is your turn to choose the kinds of words people will write for you.

I will tell you how I feel about your words (using more than the top ten hundred words) soon.

Get out of my house.

Apr 12, 2006

Bricks, bats, and blades out, my babies. This is a war week.

Arthur C. Clarke, scuba diving author-adventurer & futurist, once wrote, “Science fiction is something that could happen - but you usually wouldn't want it to. Fantasy is something that couldn't happen - though you often only wish that it could.” Let’s rip each other’s throats out over the difference.

  • You will sign up. After you sign up, I will assign you to a team: frighteningly possible sci-fi or unfortunately impossible fantasy. You don’t get to choose. I’m doing it.
  • After signups close, you'll see who you are personally up against. I will make my best effort to pair you against somebody with a similar skill level, but this will not always be possible. Fight hard, fight well.
  • The judges will give points to the team that wins each brawl. All the points will be tallied at the end, and the team with the most points wins.
  • If you are on the winning team you are immune from a DM or from losing. Yup, even if you write the absolute worst story.
  • Likewise, nobody from the losing team can win. War isn't fair. Sorry. You can still HM though if you do well.

Word limit is an even 1000. Deadline to sign up is Friday at midnight est. Deadline to submit is Sunday at midnight est. My deadlines, as always, are hard.

Nov 16, 2012

In. My skill level is very high.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In, sir!

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.

May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!
I'm In, let this count for my June submission, please.

P.S: Antivehicular, I think I won my brawl against Mr. Steak and lost against Anamolus Blowout, can I message you for a new AV?

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

I’m in.

Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes


Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

I'm in, too!

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Alright, you’re going to see my frustration grow throughout these crits. I’m going to need to go on a rant.

We live in cynical times. We have so much access to everything wrong with the world that we’ve convinced ourselves that misery is a virtue. In a world of rape culture, systematic racism, and institutionalized violence, we consciously or subconsciously see pessimism as a sign of intelligence.

Nethilia asks you to write stories about happy characters, and because, as a culture, we’ve valorized unhappiness, y’all write some of the most cynical stories I’ve ever read. People who are happy because they’re stupid. People who are happy because they’re cruel. People who are happy because the dystopia has taught them to be.

Nearly all of these make joy into a joke. You’re asked to write something that brings a little bit of happiness into the world, and you just loving can’t.

Happiness isn’t stupidity or ignorance, it’s resilience, it’s resistance, it’s a skill we have to train in ourselves. This world and this life are full of good things. I wish I had just read stories by people who remembered that.

A nearly perfect evening by WhoopieCat

You get to the joke too early. It’s clear from the get-go that Camilla is the worst possible person, and I think you should have let that build. Maybe put us on her side in the beginning before pulling the rug out from under us. As it is, this is way too repetitive. Just Camilla doing horrible things over and over again.

How fat is Tessa actually supposed to be? Is part of the joke that she’s just like, 160 pounds or whatever?

By the way, maybe throw some more shade at her husband. Women aren’t this misogynistic without the enablement and encouragement of men. It feels like he should be the real monster here, but he just comes across as a blank nothing figure.

Low mid, probably. We’ll see.

Life is Good by Salgal80

Yeah, I loving hate this. Is your point that we should never allow ourselves a little bit of joy because other people will always be suffering? You’re making fun of Emma here because she has the audacity to not focus on the most unpleasant things possible for one goddamn morning? And the pedophile is named Mr. Diddle? Jesus Christ.

I’m almost certainly going to argue for this to lose. I’m upset with this on moral grounds.

Lower than low. In hell.

Don’t drink the pink water by Doctor Zero

Certainly my favorite so far. I like how the fantasy element comes relatively quickly but the fact that it’s an outright DnD campaign is gradual. I still don’t really know what the pink water it a potion gone wrong?

You could’ve snuck in a few big words for clarity.

I’m seeing a pattern where folks are trying to get around Neth’s request for happy stories by writing miserable stories about happy people. This does it too. Guys, misery isn’t a moral virtue. You don’t have to prove how sad you are. I hope this gets better.

Mid. Maybe high mid if the rest of the stories are bad.

Rain can’t make you sick by Adam Vegas

Okay, what the hell you guys? Another happy main character who’s the butt of the joke. Happy about living in the stupid rain apocalypse.

This isn’t that bad, but it is conforming to the pattern of insisting on misery. Mid I guess?

Chapter One, Verse One by Djeser

This is the fifth story I’ve read and the third to include “we magically became stupid” as a plot point and the fifth to be a depressing story evading Neth’s happiness requirements. These are all blurring together. Are you people trying to make me lose my mind?

Low mid.

Doctor Machine by Antivehicular

Why on Earth did you choose to write a deeply upsetting dystopian thing? The fourth of six stories to include a “here’s the fantasy/sci-fi reason the words are small because people are stupid.”

Who hurt you people?

Low mid.

Paper Hearts by Ironic Twist

The twist came from a mile away but at least this story went for wistful melancholy rather than outright misery. There’s some beautiful imagery here.

High mid, possibly low high? My favorite so far.

Nikaer Drekin

Another science fiction explanation for short words? Agggghhlltrrhbb

Okay, a story that ends in our protagonist committing mass murder. Next.


They’ll see her out with the horses by Tyrannosaurus

See? Was this that hard? Writing a happy story doesn’t mean you have to whitewash the state of the world. This story gives its characters real stakes and real hardships, but it’s ultimately about good people pulling through by being good people.

That’s the very easy thing Neth asked for, and this is the first story to actually do it. High.

The Man Who Had Everything by Mr. Steak

Okay, this is a modern retelling of the Siddhartha Gautama story and not much else. Your word use was okay, and it’s not pure cynicism like most of the other stories. You could have taken it a step further, I think, to make it your own.

High mid.


I don’t think the judges brought this one up during judging. We all just forgot it.

It’s not terrible, and it’s not a downer like so many others. Around these parts, that’s good for a high mid.

Alone Together by Anonymous Amalgam

I think this should have hmed over Antivehicular‘ sand Djeser’s stories. It wasn’t quite good enough for me to really go to bat for it, though. It’s a well-written exploration of a quiet sort of happiness.


The Big Problem by Murderer of Attorneys

Other stories did a much better job sprinkling in big words to not sound stilted. This reads poorly without good reason.

Oh and the world ends because they take one night off. gently caress me.


book it then cheese it by crabrock

This is just some a-grade comedy writing. Reads like the script of an I Think You Should Leave sketch.


Call No Man Happy by Thranguy

This seems like a parody of noir without the jokes? I really don’t see what you’re getting at here except murdering a guy and loving his wife. Another weirdly bleak story.


Few Words by Fuschia Tude

I have nothing to say about this one that I haven’t written in half of the other negative crits. Just...why? Were you all trying to be unique and subversive in the exact same way? It would be one thing if these stories were sad, but these seem...cruel? Flippant? Nasty?

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.
in and :toxx:

Sep 15, 2018


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face
Wife had a baby last week and we're inundated with self-invited visitors and fecal matter - seems like a great time to return to the 'dome. In.

Aug 2, 2002




in. plz rank me on my current skill level (bad) and not my past skill level (slightly less bad)

Mr. Steak
May 9, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Jul 26, 2016

Exmond posted:

I'm In, let this count for my June submission, please.

P.S: Antivehicular, I think I won my brawl against Mr. Steak and lost against Anamolus Blowout, can I message you for a new AV?

For clarity, those power rankings were for bragging rights. There was a bar fight with three folks: Mr Steak hit the deck first, Exmond slugged it out a little longer, but Anomalous Blowout left you both bruised and bloodied in the spilled beer and sawdust.

June sub noted, though - good job. Write well.

Feb 25, 2014
the only thing i hate more than sci fi or fantasy is all of you


Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

the only thing i love more than sci-fi and fantasy is how much flerp hates them

in :toxx:

killer crane
Dec 30, 2006



Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving And something has got to give



May 3, 2003

Who wants to live


College Slice

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